Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wedding and Honeymoon Time!

Well, its hard to believe that the time has officially come, but yes, it is almost New Year's Eve, which also means it's time for me to become a wife!  Yes, Nick and I are getting married this weekend!

Engagement Photos!
Needless to say today is a bit busy, wrapping up months of planning and doing and final prep for the wedding!  Honestly, the past 10 months have flown by.

Boston Common by Moonlight
This weekend we are ready to enjoy spending time with our families and best friends and dance the night away.  Lucky for us, we will have plenty of time to rest up in the Maldives and Dubai (sorry to those who have to head back to work!).

Needless to say, I will be taking a bit of a blogging break - maybe, depending on how good the pictures are, I will post a few shots of our ocean views.  Upon my return, I will have plenty of wedding photos, but also share with you some of the things I learned along the wedding planning way.  That and some of the terrific vendors I worked with.  The engagement photos above are courtesy of Holly Redmond - I can't wait to see what she does at the wedding!

I wish everyone a fun and safe New Year!!  Next time I write I will be a Mrs. - CRAZY!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sweet Cheeks! New BBQ in Boston

I figured my final topical post of 2011 should be a good one, and what better way to finish than with one of the more talked about restaurant openings - Sweet Cheeks.  Sweet Cheeks is the new restaurant from Tiffany Faison of Top Chef fame and formerly of Rocca.  When Rocca suddenly closed, the Boston food community was a little worried it may lose one of its newer celebrity chefs, but Tiffany quickly settled the matter by telling her public that she was already working on a new restaurant in Boston.  When it turned out to be BBQ I am sure I was not the only one who was super excited about having another reliable BBQ option in Boston. 

Outside Sweet Cheeks
When given the opportunity to taste Sweet Cheeks' offerings with some fellow bloggers and the great people over at Tasted Menu, I needed no arm twisting - I was in!  For those who don't remember, Tasted Menu is the new go-to website for finding what the best dishes are at a restaurant, or where the best place is to go get your favorite food.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holidays!!

Hard to believe it is already Christmas!  With all the wedding planning going on, it's needless to say that Christmas sort of snuck up on me!  Luckily Nick LOVES Christmas and decorating the tree.  So even though things were a bit hectic, the Sunday after Thanksgiving our tree was up, lit and decorated.

All Lit Up!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Barroco - Cozy in Old Montreal

When my two friends and I arrived in Montreal on Friday, it was starting to get late so we did a little recon on restaurants while we settled in and got our acts together.  We didn't want to have to travel too far away from the hotel, so after a little Urbanspoon neighborhood searching, A stumbled upon Barroco, which had glowing reviews and was about a 10 minute walk - perfect!

Outside Barroco
After navigating the streets of Old Montreal we ended up in front of a perfect small stone building that looked like it should in an old English village.  Upon entering we were greeted by the friendly host who said we were welcome to grab a drink at the bar while a table cleared up for our group.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Scenes from Old Montreal!

Its hard to believe, but in less than two weeks I will be a married lady.  I can't believe it was only about 9 months ago that I got engaged!  To say time has flown by is an understatement.  Around Thanksgiving I got an email from my friends A and M saying they were going to steal me away for a weekend in December for a girls trip to locations unknown.  I was told certain things that I would have to pack for a complete weekend and that was it.  So, on the Friday of that weekend I was picked up and we were off, still none the wiser of the destination.  I did have a strategy of guessing based on what roads we followed.  When we finally turned on 89N I assumed we were going to Burlington, Vermont because other than that, there was not too much going on that way and any further north required a passport!  Turns out I have a sneaky fiance and friends, they had actually gotten my passport from Nick earlier that week, so we were off to Montreal!

Notre-Dame Basilica

Monday, December 19, 2011


Last weekend Nick and I decided to head over to the South End to go to the SoWa Winter Market and see if we could get caught up on some Christmas shopping.  To say Christmas snuck up on us this year is putting it mildly - the wedding has been the first thing on my mind and so I have been scrambling a bit to make sure I get Christmas set.  Luckily, I think I finished this weekend!

When we arrived at the Market last weekend the line to get in was wrapped around the building.  Since it was open until 7, we decided to head over to the shops at the traditional SoWa Market like Galvin-ized Headware and Bobby from Boston and then grab some lunch.  Having heard so many great things about Gaslight, and considering it was right up the street, it seemed the perfect time to give it a go.

When we arrived it was like walking into the perfect french bistro, complete with lots of white subway tiles and small marble cafe tables.  After being seated we perused the menu and had a bit of trouble choosing what we wanted to eat - there were so many delicious options.  Before having to make any difficult decisions, we selected a couple of drinks to get us started.  I went with something a bit different and ordered the Belle de Brillet paired with French Brandy and cream and spiced with a nutmeg finish.  I was not sure what to expect, but loved this drink!  I am not a traditional brandy person, but with the cream and nutmeg it was perfect!   Beware - it is cold, not warm.

Brandy Lait
Nick went with the Bloody Mary (in true Nick fashion).  There was plenty of spice and garnish to more than satisfy him.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Honey Yeast Rolls

I took my roll of being in charge of bread very seriously for Thanksgiving!  In addition to the hazelnut and cranberry bread for pre-dinner, I wanted to do something from scratch for the main meal.  I thought about making the no knead bread because it always comes out well, but I wanted to try something different and something that would feed a few more people!  Thanksgiving dinner cries out for loads of bread for dipping in gravy.  I consulted a few bloggers for a reliable recipe and decided that honey yeast dinner rolls from Beantown Baker were the best way to go.

Dinner Rolls!
The recipe as stated (and below) makes 12 rolls, but I wanted there to be plenty of rolls and doubled the recipe.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hazelnut/Pecan and Cranberry Bread

This Thanksgiving was pretty low key for us - only 8 gathered around the table.  While my brother did not make it up for the holiday (paying his dues so he gets Christmas through New Year's off), we were joined by my cousin and her family from Minnesota!  They unfortunately cannot make it to the wedding, but generously offered to come out to Boston for a visit - I mean, they had to meet Nick!  With only 8, my mom had the majority of dinner under control, but still wanting to contribute something to the meal I volunteered myself for the breads.  I figured the possibilities were endless!

Cranberry Hazelnut and Pecan Bread
I remembered a bread recipe that sounded delicious I had seen somewhere with hazelnuts and cranberries.  Knowing we had a bunch of frozen cranberries from our CSA and a bunch of hazelnuts on hand, I was on a mission to find the recipe.  Luckily Nick came to the rescue and did a quick online search and found the recipe on Real Simple's website.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Helmand - Afghani Food

The Helmand Restaurant in East Cambridge was one of the restaurants on our ever-growing list that somehow we never thought about making the effort to get across the river for.  However, after hearing many rave reviews it kept moving up and becoming more of a priority.  Finally it seemed like we had the perfect opportunity: it was a nice halfway point between Beacon Hill and our friends G and J in Winter Hill.

For those who have never heard of The Helmand, its an Afghani restaurant.  To be honest, I do not have much experience with middle eastern and Indian food, but each time I have it I enjoy it more and more.  The flavors are something so different than what I am used to.   While I knew I wanted to go to the Helmand, when I walked through the door, I realized I had not really looked at the menu and had no idea what to expect!

When the four of us arrived, the restaurant was busy, but we were seated straight away.  We reviewed the drink menu briefly and three of us settled on Anchor Steam while G got a glass of wine.

Shortly after the drinks arrived, while we were still reviewing the menu our server brought over some delicious flat bread cooked right behind us in an open wood fire grill.  The flat bread was delicious, a cross between wheat and white bread.  The texture was perfect and got me excited for the rest of the meal.

Flat Bread
Wood Fire Grill

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

French Toast - yummy breakfast!

After sending my brother the blondies, I was left with an almost full loaf of white bread.  While its good for a few Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches, there were only so many leftovers!  Next best thing to do with white sandwich bread?  FRENCH TOAST, cheap bread style.  It was a great way to use up the whole milk, too.

Friday Vacation Breakfast
The Necessities...
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla 
  • nutmeg

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pumpkin Blondies with Salted Caramel

My brother lives in Charlotte and basically had to work for most of the Thanksgiving holiday (and pay his dues) because he will be home for Christmas and my wedding!  I wanted to send him something homemade because I was not sure how well he would fend for himself.  That, and I wanted him to have a bit of a taste of his New England home.  When trying to come up with something to make I was at a bit of a loss, but my recent obsession in Pinterest really helped me search for just the right fall dessert.  Finally, I settled on a Salted Caramel Pumpkin Blondies recipe from Sing for your Supper.

This recipe calls for caramel sauce, and while store-bought is good enough, I thought I would challenge myself and make some homemade salted caramel.  After scouring a bit more on Pinterest I stumbled upon a Salted Caramel Sauce from a A Twist of Kate.  The caramel sauce seemed easy enough so off I went.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Trade Boston

When my cousin and her family came into Boston over the Thanksgiving holiday for an extended visit, they wanted to do dinner at one of the many restaurants she sees on this blog!  They were staying at the Marriott Long Wharf, so I was trying to think of a good place to meet up that would be simple (tougher than one might assume in Boston!).  Finally it dawned on me - Trade, Jody Adams' new restaurant at Atlantic Wharf.  Between the buzz surrounding Trade and the fact that it's a straight shot from the Marriott I immediately made some reservations.

On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving I headed over to Trade after work and was there a bit early, which gave me some time to snap a few shots of the amazing interior and a beer.  I decided on the Delirium, something I had never had before, but a Belgium Ale that happened to be a bit higher in alcohol content sounded perfect to me!  That, and the cute elephants on the tap and the glass ;)

The interior of Trade is quite striking with the combination of the washed out industrial I-beams, the con-caved brick ceilings and the fun lighting throughout.  The contrast in style really comes together in the cavernous space to make a place you want to come and hang out at.

The Bar Area

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Power Hour at Morton's Back Bay

Once a month I have a Junior League Events Committee meeting.  Generally each meeting's theme is based around the different aspects that go into planning an event.  This past month, we went to Morton's Back Bay to discuss the events they do as a company as well as events you can hold in their space.  I had never been to any Morton's before, so I was not really sure what to expect.  Turns out, Morton's has a Power Hour Menu: a bar menu with really well priced food and drink, offered all day long!

Red Wine
During Power Hour, beers are $5, certain wines are $6.50 and some martini's are $7.50.  Morton's is generally known as being on the pricier side, so I was super surprised at how cheap the drinks were.  Even better, it was not the cheap stuff - my glass of wine was delicious!  During the summer, Morton's had a spa martini was was low in calories, but since it's no longer summer they switched modes.  We were lucky enough to sample the sparkling cinnamon apple cocktail with Prosecco, Lindemans Pomme Lambic (green apple), Monin Honey Syrup and some whipped cream, all topped off with a cinnamon and sugar ring. I was a little worried about a creamy cocktail, but this was delicious!  I would highly recommend this on a nice cold evening.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Girls in White Dresses

Since I read a number of books on the T in the morning, I am always looking for some good recommendations.  However, I have spent quite some time going through books on and rating the ones I've read, so they generally have some good recommendations for me.  One of these books was Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close.  What caught me was the description, saying that the book followed a couple of girls after college trying to make it through life and jobs and watching their friends get married...and they're not.
This book was interesting to me, and it did a great job of tracking the lives of 4 friends after graduating from college.  The reader follows their lives until they are a little over thirty and finally become OK with who they are.  As most of us know, there is a lot of growing up that happens through your 20's, and this book shows just how much in its pages.

The book is written from the view of each of the four girls and you start out by going to parties with them and laughing about the random hook-ups, to following them through the first boyfriends out of school.  From there you see how the characters make some life changing decisions about work and love.

Having lived through most of the same situations made this read really fun, and I was almost reflective seeing how much life has changed for me since I graduated college.  No matter what stage you are at in your post-college life, you will see yourself in this book, which makes it a fun read.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Chicken Sausage Pasta with a Semi-Homemade Sauce

Sometimes when it's my turn to cook there's really no recipe inspiration striking and I do not have time to troll the internet to find something that works.  On those nights, sometimes an easy pasta dinner is just what the doctor ordered.  However, jarred pasta sauce isn't always something I am interested in using - I like to pretend some legitimate effort was put into this meal!  Turns out, crushed tomatoes are the key.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Attempt #2 at Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts are not something I had growing up because my mom was not a fan.  However, Nick is a BIG fan of brussel sprouts so I have been trying to figure out a way to cook them at home where we both enjoy them.  My first attempt at brussel sprouts was not super successful in my book - Nick liked them though, which counts for something!  So after getting some great feedback in the comments of that blog post, I now have a little treasure trove of tricks and recipes to play with.

While out shopping at Whole Foods I saw brussel sprouts that they were selling straight from the stalk!  I had never thought about where they come from before, and it seemed a bit odd but did make sense.  Next to the big stalk were bundles of brussel sprouts that were a bit smaller in size, a bit more manageable and, in my opinion, the perfect size for my next attempt at brussel sprouts.

Smaller Brussel Sprouts!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...